Jack London

By: Lindsay Schwartz


- Born on January 12, 1876

- Died November 22, 1916

- Real Name: John Griftith Chaney

- Only had a third grade education for the first part of his life.

- became an oyster pirate off the San Fransico bay at age 15.

- Arrested at age 18 for vagrancy, thrown in jail for 30 days.

- started writing at age 17 when his mother pushed him to enter a writing contest. (He won)

-Followed the gold rush and went to Klondike. He became severely malnourished and had to return home. When he arrived home he got the news his step-father, John London, had died.

- Dovoted his life to writing to support his mother.

- Wrote 1,000 words a day

- in the last 20 years of his life he wrote over 50 books.

- married twice and had two daughters

- died from kidney disease in 1916

- died from a combination of morphine and unemia poisoning.

- struggled with alcoholism for most of his life.

The People of the Abyss
Jack London, posing as a beach sailor, went to the East end of London to see how they truly live. What he discovered shocked him, such as the economic degradation of the poor. He used his writing skills to expose these appalling conditions with passion and vision. His insight to their lives was and still is a unique experience which sets this book apart. He intertwined personal stories of the people he met with political analysis which produced a vibrant work of nonfiction. The book helped bring to light and show the world how the East side of London lived.

Jack London's Life Influences

  • London was brought up in a poor family. His paternal father abandoned him and his mother when he found out she was pregnant with Jack. Jack's mother remarried John London soon after Jack was born.
  • Since Jack London's biological mother was unable to nurse him London spent a lot of his childhood with Jennie Prentiss who agreed to nurse him. In many ways Jennie Prentiss became London's true mother.
  • Herbert Spencer was an english philosopher that highly influenced London's radicalism. He believed in "survival of the fittest".
  • Charles Darwin was an english naturalist who coined the term Social Darwinism. He believed in survival of the fittest and London's belief of this became evident in his novel, White Fang.
  • Karl Marx introduced London to socialism and his theories gave London inspiration for his collection of essays, "The War of the Classes" in 1905.

These people inspired London's views which he incorporated into his books. His view of survival of the fittest can be seen in his novel, "Call of the Wild."


"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

~Jack London

Compare and Contrast:

Jack London is now perceived as more of a racist person than before. He refers to the lowest criminal elements as "a new species, a breed of city savages." People believe that it may have been easy for him to confuse the poor with a degenerate species of humanity. Although some believe him to be a little racist today his work is still viewed as some of the best to understand how the poor lived.

Jack London was a very skilled writer that had the ability to write in a way that everyday people could understand. If given this ability I would right about the impact of racism in our society today. People see racism everywhere but it is important to not be a hypocrite and not judge others.


In this article Jack London is viewed as an extremely smart individual and a great writer by Twayne Publishers. He didn't just write stories but he lived the adventures. His odds starting out weren't very high due to his family being poor and his father abandoning him and his mother. He worked for most of his childhood and had to drop out of school at an early age in order to provide for his family. He had many jobs as a young child, such as a newspaper boy, he also discovered his vast interest in the public Library. His life adventures were the inspiration for most of his novels. According to the author, London was extremely smart and wrote well from the beginning.He won writing competitions and had his works published in newspapers which grew his confidence as a writer. The author of this article goes into detail on how London found inspiration for his various novels and short stories. The author views London as one of the best American writers of his time and an inspiration today. The author establishes his tone through his use of facts to support his claims. He defends that London was one of America's best writers at the time and his work is still very important today.

This article is correct because of its use of facts to back up the statements made about Jack London. It shows the different sides of London and what caused him to believe in what he believed. He was a complicated, bluntly honest, hypersensitive, and melancholic at moments. His life is sometimes viewed as the best story he ever wrote due to the adventures he went on and the things he did.

Political Cartoon

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Jack London believed in eugenics and only the best and strongest should be able to reproduce. This cartoon shows that in order to have the best society only the superior should get to reproduce. However, the "moron" and "idiot" should not be allowed to reproduce because their offspring would be like them and would hinder society.

Works Cited and Bibliography

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Presentation Conclusion

Jack London's american experience is like numerous others in that he came from a poor family and wanted to do something with his life. London worked hard to find his writing inspiration and although he struggled with things like alcoholism he worked hard to make a good life for him and his family. He became one of the best writers in America after his book, Call of the Wild was published. He made enough money to support his family and make sure they were well off. Not letting his poor childhood bring him down, he strove to find adventure and inspirtation through numerous travels. He truly accomplished the American Dream by his rags to riches story.

Additional Requirements

Jack London wrote The People of the Abyss during a time with major gaps between the rich and the poor. Working conditions were horrible and the standard of living was low. This novel was published in 1903, around this time Pepsi Cola was started, Franklin and Eleanor Rooselvelt became engaged, the first Tour de France was announced and took place, and the Wright brothers obtained an airplane patent. This time was filled with success for many but also hard harsh conditions for the working poor. A central theme in this novel is the abject physical and moral degradation of the residents of the east end, or the "abyss". This work would still be appreciated because some of the struggles faced in the book are similar to struggles in today's world. People still live in poverty around the world and the conditions are the same. People are still homeless and starving around the world and slums in big cites still exist. Other writers did not go into these places and get their accounts first hand. This is what sets Jack London apart as a writer.
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